by Members of the Emerald Family
For his birthday, the South Seattle Emerald family came together to share stories about how they met Marcus Harrison Green and the impact he, and the community news and media website he started, have had on them. They were going to keep it private but thought this was way more fun … <3
Marcus came into my life about 25 years ago. I must say that you were a much younger version. The young man you were has guided the incredible man you are today. I’m proud to call you my son that I did not give birth to.
The words that come out of your mouth has encouraged many, and you help shape the world towards a light that we all hope to see one day. Thank you for being in my life Marcus. I love you. Happy Birthday.
When I left New York and moved home to Seattle for good, I specifically asked around about young POCs who were the next generation of community leaders. Although I had mentored many young folx throughout my career, I had a personal sense of urgency since new generations were needed to carry justice work forward. Marcus Harrison Green’s name came up in that context and I followed the Emerald from its inception. At the same time, as a media professional myself, I was afraid the Emerald could not sustain itself for the long haul. But, once I saw his 1000 watt smile and warm personality, I said to myself, “oh yah, this guy is going to make it work!” He was one of the first community journalists I contacted to host a public affairs program on the new community radio station, KVRU FM; he created “The Fifth Estate” a weekly roundup of news relevant to the South End community. I became an Emerald Rain Maker, but little did I know I would end up working on his team!
Marcus’ commitment to start an online publication with his own financial resources and living in his mother’s basement is admirable. Presenting six years of quality journalism, arts and culture is achievement enough, but pales in comparison to his passion for amplifying the authentic voices of the community!
You see the true grit and character of a person when the chips are down. Marcus came back to the Emerald after being away for over a year and had to rebuild the financial/operating structure and team. While working remotely, Marcus is deftly and calmly leading us through two of the worst diseases to ever hit this country: the COVID-19 coronavirus and racism. Without yet hiring a full time staffer, we had to scramble to learn a whole new body of information, resources, and engage our communities to keep us safe from the pandemic. With racism, Marcus created the Emerald to present the authentic voices of diverse communities who have been mistreated, misunderstood and surviving/thriving while in pain. And, while in the same pain that so many Black people have faced this past week, Marcus is pushing our journalism and finding voices of healing … and taking only a momentary pause long enough to celebrate his birthday!! It will likely take time before we realize just how important it is for us that Marcus was born on June 4th. Words matter and It is my honor to spend my “retirement” time working with Marcus for justice.
I took a photo of Marcus before I ever talked to him or knew about the Emerald. I was photographing an event for The Skanner in 2015. A little over a year and a half later I got an email from Marcus, before I actually met him in person. I had run into Clifford Cawthon, who was writing a story for the Emerald about a City Council Meeting and they needed a couple of photos. That was in January of 2017 and ever since then I’ve had the privilege of freelancing for the Emerald. I have appreciated every opportunity the South Seattle Emerald and especially Marcus has given me. The Emerald is one of the best media organizations in all of Seattle and that is due in large part to the determination and talent of Marcus Green. With so many talented people working on the Emerald its future is bright. Happy birthday, Marcus!
In thinking about what to write for you, I was suddenly struck by the fact that you and I have so few pictures together. I think we have exactly one that I can recall (that one wedding, haha).
It’s such a strange thing, because, if you judged our relationship by pictures alone, you’d think we’d talked only a handful of times.
But we know that pictures — though each proverbially is worth a thousand words — can’t capture the depth and breadth of our relationship.
The first time I wrote to you, I addressed you as ‘Mr. Green.’ I was new to Seattle, and in search of freelance work. When I met you at Cafe Red that chilly February day — Feb. 19, 2018, I believe — I remember launching about a thousand and one ideas at you. You, in your calm wisdom, told me that these were all great ideas, but also indicated in an unspoken way that there was so much I needed to learn about the area. I did not then understand just what learning more about this community would mean. I did not understand how it would challenge me, and ultimately make me a better journalist and a better (if slightly more sarcastic) human being. I have come to deeply love and cherish the South Seattle community, and that is thanks to you.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being where I am today with you and the Emerald. In the same vein, I would not be here without you — and the same goes for countless others, whose voices you have worked so hard to amplify. You constantly tell us that it’s the work of a team, and it is; but, at the same time, it’s the work of you. The Emerald is and always will be your child, whose resilience and brilliance matches its father’s.
Marcus, you may not know it, but every time we talk, every time you confide in me, every time I read your work, I come away a better person. It is evident in the outpouring of support you get from the South End that others feel the same way, too.
I know there have been times you have felt unworthy, or not enough. I am writing this to join the chorus of thousands of community members to tell you that the word ‘enough’ doesn’t even begin to describe what you are to so many people. I have told you this before, but I want to iterate it: you are an amazing human being with a multitude of talents, and an unparalleled magnitude of grace and poise. If everyone had even an ounce of your thoughtfulness and intellect, the world would be a much better place.
But there is only one of you, and so I am here to remind you that you are precious, a literal one-in-a-trillion kind of person. For whatever cosmic collisions that had to happen to bring you into this world, and set you on this path, I can only express gratitude and joy. Your work to create and sustain the Emerald as the voice of South King County means that there is a living, breathing legacy of modern, nuanced life in the South End that, like its community, has endured more hardships than thought possible. Yet it has survived — thrived, even — because you knew that giving up on it would mean giving up on the South End.
The Emerald’s time is here. I am so glad you are at its helm.
I am with you,
I met Marcus three years ago. I’d seen some good articles from the Emerald shared on Facebook but I didn’t know a lot about it. I didn’t have a favorite news source, just one that was convenient I guess. But I wanted news I could trust. I knew I needed more information. I was driving a lot for work and got my local news mostly from KUOW.
Then on May Day in 2017, my mom, a 5’4″, 52-year-old woman — a survivor of physical and sexual assault by (White) men many times over — was terrorized by a group of Joey Gibson-following “Patriot Prayer” MAGA guys wearing body armor and holding shields and shit (and one live streamer who assaulted her, causing a persistent injury that now affects her mobility). The incident and events that followed were a catalyst in furthering my understanding of how the media works, and it was honestly devastating. The details are for another time.
I knew there were issues with the media. I knew there was spin, were biases. But what I learned first-hand then was that even “community-supported” local media is dishonest and grossly abuses their power. (I have yet to really understand why or how they are capable of it.)
And now I wondered, how many stories truly go untold? Good and bad? How many people are discredited, discounted, ignored? This thing that happened to me/us, it happened to a middle-class White lady and family, so it for sure happened to many, many other people who are even less likely to be heard, much less respected, in our society.
Around this same time, I saw my first “Nikkita Oliver For Mayor” sign and I Googled her name. The richest most valuable resource I found was the South Seattle Emerald. Here was this poet/educator/activist/lawyer who had already accomplished so much at such a young age, and so many people in my community had known her and known of her for a long time. I read up on Nikkita in the Emerald and signed up to volunteer for her campaign. It was an exciting and hopeful movement in the wake of the devastating 2016 presidential election.
Then, there was a Juneteenth event that a local gal, Ann, was organizing and looking for media coverage for and I knew, just knew, that the Emerald was either a) already covering it or b) we could easily get them to. Marcus wrote back to Ann and I personally when we reached out. And when the Emerald ended up not having the bandwidth to cover the event, he wrote again to tell us so and to apologize.
What I found out on this long journey to the Emerald is something that many Emerald readers already know (and future readers will learn in their own time): The Emerald is my community. Our community. They knew Nikkita because they had been here all along, with us, getting to know us, telling the stories of the people and happenings here, well before I personally became aware of it. And there was/is no hidden agenda. No, why would they do that or say that (or why would they leave that out)? It’s one hundred percent authentic celebratory truth of the people by the people. And the many voices I want to see amplified and the people I want to see get noticed for the work they do and the organizations I want to have a platform to boost their signal … the Emerald is here for them.
Everything that I love, everything that matters to me converges with the Emerald. And now more than ever I understand the power of controlling the narrative and boosting the signal and the work that we must do to support our community and the individuals within it in doing so.
As for Marcus … shit, Marcus is like the cherry on top!
I would have respected and appreciated Marcus and his vision regardless of anything else and would have cared for and about the Emerald as a separate entity from the man. But soon after I got to know the Emerald, I got to know Marcus. And what a great pleasure and honor that has been.
Marcus gives so much of himself to others, so much of himself to the Emerald, and he inspires the people around him not only to care for each other but to care for themselves. His love and passion, his introspection and thoughtful contemplations, so much of which he shares with anyone who is willing to listen (and/or to read), the way he honors the past and brings forth the teachers that helped shape his mind and vision — it’s like, I meet so many smart, interesting, caring, passionate and compassionate people, but Marcus is one of the most “real” people I’ve ever met and that real person that he is is exceptional.
He wears his heart on his sleeve and smiles that big beautiful smile we all know and love through the deepest, most devastating pain and struggle because he remains ever hopeful and ever fighting for what he loves, for his joy, and for himself, showing us all how it’s done. His love and care for the Emerald and for community is outshined, and only ever so slightly, by his love and care for family and dear friends.
Marcus, I’m so glad you were born, and to generous, kind, loving people who raised such a sweetheart — a stubborn, tenacious, humble, sweetheart with a wonderful sense of humor and appreciation for dry wit.
I am truly lucky to call myself your friend. And the love, hope, education, and resilience I’ve found in the Emerald and in my Emerald family is a gift I will always be grateful to you for. On your birthday, and every day, Marcus, you give us so many gifts. Thank you for working so hard to ensure that everyone is recognized for their gifts, especially those who deserve the most recognition and those who are the least likely to get it from anywhere else.
My hope for you is that you receive in your life as much love as (or more than) you put out there. Here’s just a little bit of that love coming back to you from me.
Happy birthday, Marcus!
I clearly remember the night I met Marcus. I was introduced to him by my new girlfriend at the time and now wife, Anne Althauser, at a Collaboratory event in Hillman City. He was mid-conversation with Devin Chicras who I also met that night. The four of us exchanged names and pleasantries, but it was not long before we were deep in discussion concerning topics from breakfast cereal superiority to social justice. Soon after Marcus invited me to join the board of a one-year-old Emerald and we have remained in deep conversation about community, justice, and liberation ever since. I’ve told Marcus more than once that he shines, but I’ve never quite understood what I mean when I say it. Maybe the shine is his uncanny ability to take a small moment, like a conversation, and simultaneously be fully present with you, responding personally and specifically, yet also convey a connection to the tide of people and movements pulling our world towards progress. He also writes pretty good I guess.
In these difficult times I’m deeply grateful for the hard work Marcus and the rest of the Emerald team put forth to keep our community safe and informed.
There are plenty more challenges ahead for the Southend, but as long as the Emerald continues to provide a platform for folks to speak truth to power and re-shape our city for everyone, we have a chance.
Happy Birthday brother,
The first time I met Marcus was early in 2017 at Third Place Books. I thought it would be a quick introduction, a kind of “thank you” for someone whose mom had donated to the Emerald. Little did I know it was going to turn into a pitch to join the Emerald board.
And you can’t say “no” to Marcus. His passion, his commitment, his intelligence, his genuineness, his generosity, it all inspired me to want to be a part of all this. Marcus’ mission of giving voice to the South End is oh so important, and it’s an honor to be able to contribute in my small manner.
Marcus, you’ve been a true friend, someone who’s welcomed me into your community, someone who sees me in a greater light than I see myself. Always know that you shine bright in this world. Happy birthday, my man.
The #1stTimeIMetMarcus was in 2014, volunteering for a nonprofit charity event in Skyway, making Thanksgiving meals for folks who were either short on family or funds for the holiday. He was a blur of action, extremely personable, and although we may have only spent a few minutes in the same room, left a lasting impression.
Our shared ideals brought us together again shortly after — me, hosting free community events; him, creating the media platform that would generously give it some press and finally shine a positive light on Skyway and the South End.
In the last six years I’ve known him, my initial impression of Marcus as being utterly selfless, restless in the pursuit of helping others, and always about his community (and super deserving of an extended holiday or two) has not changed one bit.
Happy birthday to the South End’s greatest. I’m honored to call you a friend. Now please close your laptop and go take a nap.
I honestly don’t remember the first time I met Marcus, but I feel like I’ve known him forever. There’s some people you just connect with in life as if you’ve known each other across many lifetimes. Marcus is not only an outstanding community leader, talent, and thinker, but also a kind, compassionate, and loving person. I’m glad for whatever day we met (whenever that was!) and will always be deeply grateful for our friendship…
You’re the best Marcus! Happy Bday!!
At the beginning of 2016 I started working at Real Change as an editor and wanted to meet with other editors in the area to gain insight and see what kind of connections and relationships could be made. I can’t remember if Marcus reached out to me first or if I reached out to him, but we almost didn’t meet for our first meeting. We had a mixup on locations and I was sitting at Coffeeworks and Marcus was just across the street at Storyville.
I was honestly pretty pumped about the visit, simply because I so admired the work that the Emerald was already doing and was regularly wondering what I could learn from Marcus’ process and vision. That meeting was the beginning of a friendship and partnership that I continue to value deeply. I was incredibly privileged to start working with Marcus at Real Change and eventually as interim editor at the Emerald.
The thing I cherish most about Marcus is the opportunity to just sit down over a coffee. The conversation begins with work and then always leads to the deeper questions about our lives and well-being. Marcus’ vision and outlook are unmatched and I am blessed to see everything he touches turn to gold.
I first met Marcus when I was in the midst of starting up a non-profit news site. I’d long admired the Emerald and though it took a while for us to finally connect (running a nonprofit keeps you more than a little busy, on this we both agree!), when we got together, Marcus was so incredibly warm and generous. We traded stories and and tips and continued to meet off and on. What really impressed me about Marcus was that each time we got together as colleagues, he would always push deeper, asking me how I was feeling personally about my work — as well as being remarkably vulnerable about his own challenges. Marcus really understands that this work we do — telling people’s stories, giving voice to people who aren’t heard — is so intensely human and personal. We continued to meet and check in, and what began was a professional connection quickly grew into friendship. We’d talk business for awhile, but soon enough, Marcus would always turn the conversation to ask about my separation, my new girlfriend, what I was finding joy in. And when I checked in with him, he was always willing to be honest and frank in sharing what he was going through. His wisdom and humor in the face of so much conflict in the world never ceases to amaze me.
The nonprofit I started up didn’t make it, and I’m incredibly grateful that at a moment when I was struggling to figure out how I could continue work for positive change, Marcus welcomed me to participate in the amazing community he’s built at the Emerald. Thanks Marcus, for being my friend, and happy birthday to you, brother. Hope your day is full of naps and chill music and blissful boredom!
Marcus! Suffice to say I’m glad you were born on this day way back when, and I’m glad you made the uncountable amount of decisions that lead you to not only found, but return to and lead what has become my favorite news source. As a reader, I often inanely stumble into mainstream media, and as I come to, am often quickly horrified by what their words seem passively bent on accomplishing. As a writer, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to attempt a departure from the charade of objectivity, as we seek to amplify South End voices at the Emerald. The people who have assembled around you to do this work are amazing, and I often find myself in awe. Je te respecte beaucoup mon frere!
I met Marcus by accident at the Rainer Beach Back-2-School Bash when I first got to Seattle about seven years ago. As a longtime journalist dedicated to community journalism, I immediately vibed with what you were doing Marcus: the hard work of providing Southeast Seattle with relevant information and stories often missed by mainstream media. Since then I’ve been a fan of your work, the team you’re building, driven more by passion and love than time and funding. But you are doing it! Happy birthday and know that you are a treasured part of this community. Much joy and success in the coming days — more love, more power. Phil
The authors of this post are part of the Emerald Family, certainly not the whole family, which includes anyone reading this! If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Marcus and want to add your story of how you met Marcus and what he and the Emerald mean to you, please drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add it to bottom of this post (and let Marcus know he has a new message!).
Featured image materialized out of thin air. It was magical. (You should have been there.)